Review: Madagasgar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted 3D

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The Pitch: It’s not fair – no, it’s a circus!

The Review: Animals, if kept cleanly, can make fine pets and excellent companions. Some of the larger varieties, though, should be left to the zoos; trying to keep lions and zebras at home is not recommended for even the bravest of home owners. There’s also another threat that these larger mammals present to our safety, and it’s one which you won’t be kept safe from by simply seeing these animals in the zoo; it’s an infection you could catch at your local cinema, the most unsuspecting of places, and it’s one known as earworm. There is no known cure for earworm, only the hope of gradual immunisation through repeated exposure. Here we can see the primary wild animal earworm in its most virulent form:

It may not seem that threatening, taken out of the wild and seen in laboratory conditions, but you should be wary, especially if exposed to the full Madagascan strain of the virus. It’s also a mutation of the original, weaker strain known as the Move-It-Move-It virus which had been seen in two previous outbreaks, but had thought to be contained and possibly dying out. Certainly the contagion appeared to be contained within around a dozen animals, including a lion going under the name of Alex (Ben Stiller), a hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), a giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) and a group of trouble-making penguins, delusional lemurs and antisocial monkeys. The first infection seemed to start with the lemurs but quickly crossed species, and wasn’t thought threatening as long as the animals remained in the wild.

However, latest reports say that the group has headed to Europe; how and why remains largely a mystery, although the finest animal controller in France, Captain Chantal DuBois (Frances McDormand) is tracking the animals in an attempt to spread further infection. It’s believed the virus may have mutated when the animals came into contact with a travelling animal circus, including a tiger (Bryan Cranston), a jaguar (Jessica Chastain) and a sealion (Martin Short). Symptoms of the animals affected include increasingly irrational and inexplicable behaviour; such as the tiger jumping through increasingly impossible smaller hoops as part of his act and quite how the animals managed to swim from Madagascar to the Mediterranean in the first place.

Make no mistake, this is the most dangerous example of the virus yet. It’s likely to induce various symptoms, including increased levels of laughter over those seen during the first two outbreaks and also a heightened responsiveness to bright colours. Despite an increasing number of animals, subjects should remain lucid and be able to distinguish easily between all of the various animals clearly, most of whom show clear signs of development, despite the general increased levels of madness. It’s unusual in such a situation to see such forward development but also increased anarchy and humour among such an extended group of animals, but this is symptomatic of the joy which the earworm virus can bring. Further strains have been seen, including a dangerous melding of Move-It and Circus Afro variants, and those subjecting themselves to this latest Madagascar outbreak should prepare themselves for jollity, general amusement and a surprising amount of good times as the animals are allowed to run free, unhindered by logic or common sense and all the better for it. Just be prepared to be suffering from the after-effects of the earworm infection for some time to come.

Why see it at the cinema: Plenty going on in both foreground and background, so the larger viewing area gives you chance to catch it all, and it’s the funniest of the series, so see it with a good crowd.

Why see it in 3D: No hugely compelling reasons for forking over the extra cash here, although the palette is bright enough that for the most part that Madagascar 3 doesn’t suffer from the normal dulling effects of wearing dark glasses indoor too much; one sequence on a train does descend into almost total darkness, but you can probably take your glasses off for that bit.

The Score: 7/10

Also: Da-da-dadadada-da-da, circus, da-da-dadadada-da-da, afro! Circus afro, circus afro! Polka dot, polka dot, polka dot afro!

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